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I’m participating in a “blog carnival.” In case you are new to the concept, as I was less than twenty four hours ago, in a blog carnival a word or topic is given. Anyone who wants can post on the topic, creating quite the range of writings. The word for this one is “madness.”

While it seems that many other bloggers think of madness in terms of craziness or anger, the first thing that came to mind was March Madness. I might be influenced by the season. But truth be told, most likely the association would be just as strong at other times of the year.

A bit of context will help. As I considered when to come to China, I told God that I would know it was a sign I was to go when the Kansas Jayhawks won a national championship AND the Denver Broncos Won the Super Bowl. It’s not that I didn’t want to be in China, it’s just that I didn’t want to miss out on such wonderful events! God, in his understated way, let me know that sports were not going to be the way I would decide major events in my life. My bags were packed and I moved to Chengdu, Sichuan with neither a national championship nor Super Bowl title.

When I first came to China, the internet didn’t exist. I lived in a guest house and the only phone was at the front desk, shared by all. The day a phone was put into the hallway where we foreigners lived, that day. Oh that day.  It’s hard to express the sense of delight, privacy, convenience, and connection wrapped up in one small phone. The simple pleasure of being able to sit on a folding chair when we got a rare call from a loved one, there is nothing like it.

That first March my dad called and read the entire bracket to me. If you are unfamiliar with March Madness, there are sixty four teams invited and divided into four groups. He would literally go through all 32 matchups and discuss their rankings with me, who was favored, who was hot, and who was not. Those days, phone calls were not cheap, but he knew how I missed it.

Basket ball plus

A phone call plus

Talking to someone so very far away about something so dear, to quote a commercial, priceless.

The next week he’d call back and go over the wins, losses, and upsets.  I sat on the red folding chair, freezing in the unheated hallway, hunched over my pieces of paper, updating them as we talked. Cheering when Duke lost. Sad when the Jayhawks were out.

Marveling that these pieces of paper connected me to a land I missed, a game I adore, and a man I love. I was still happily living life to the fullest in China, but for a brief time, I was transported to another part of me.

You can see why “madness” reminds me of sports regardless of the time of year. Not surprisingly, there are other special sports memories.  The word for the next carnival is memory so check back to see how far one friend was willing to go for me and our mutual love of KU hoops.

What is something someone has done for you that might appear like madness to others, but not to you?